Daisy’s 953

by B.B. Pelletier

We have one or possibly two readers who want to know about the Daisy 953 TargetPro, so I thought today was as good a time as any to look at it.

Technical specs
The 953 is a single-stroke pneumatic rifle that Daisy lists with their Powerline guns. It comes in .177 caliber only and shoots lead pellets. The maximum muzzle velocity is listed as 560 f.p.s., so the 953 is faster than the 853. Our reader wanted to know how the two rifles compare, as far as accuracy is concerned, so I did some research. Daisy says the 953 will put all its pellets into one hole at 10 yards if the shooter does his part, so you can consider this to be an accurate rifle. When I spoke to the Daisy folks at the SHOT Show last February, they told me that they thought the 953 would be an affordable alternative to the costlier 853 for shooters who just want to shoot informal target.

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Airgun power with heavy and light pellets

by B.B. Pelletier

We received a lot of comments to last Friday’s post, Why foot-pounds is the most meaningful airgun power rating. One of them was a question from “cold shooter” about something I said in that post: “Please explain why a CO2 pistol would prefer or gain more energy from a heavy weight pellet.” The full statement I made went something like this: “Spring-air guns are more efficient (have more power) with lightweight pellets, while pneumatics and CO2 guns do better with heavy pellets.” Today, we’ll examine this phenomenon.

First, a new book
Trust me, this book is very much related to this discussion. The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets by Richard Middleton has just been published. It’s an excellent discussion of energy transfer, momentum and the design of catapults, crossbows, bullet-bows and airguns. I think this book clarifies the spring-air versus pneumatic question quite well. It’s related to energy transfer.

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How to sight in an airgun with open sights

by B.B. Pelletier

We have an emergency today. Seems one of our readers received an air rifle for Christmas and needs help sighting it in. Here is his comment, “I have just got a new Gamo Shadow 1000 and I was wondering if you knew how to sight in the open sights?” The nice thing about answering this question is the answer applies to all open sights on all airguns – not just the Gamo.

First – what is the sight picture?
With open sights, there are a number of different sight pictures to choose from. The one you select must be used every time you sight the rifle, or else the sight-in will be invalid. The Shadow 1000 comes with fiber optic sights, front and rear, so the sight picture is a red bead resting down in the U-shaped rear notch between two green dots. If there were no fiber optics, this would simply be a front bead resting down in the rear U-shaped notch. The front bead is held on the spot where you want the pellet to go. This is called a center-hold sight picture, and it is commonly used for sporting purposes.

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Can you hunt with a BB gun?

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s posting is inspired by a question we received last week. “I’m looking to buy my first bb gun. Should I look for a combo (bb and pellet) or should I look for one or the other? Are bb’s less accurate in a combo? Also, at what power can you start killing a squirrel?”

I consider this to be three separate questions, and that’s how I will address it. Since killing squirrels seems to be the ultimate objective, let’s start with that.

1. BB guns ARE NOT for killing squirrels!
A BB gun is not a good hunting gun for many reasons. First, some BB guns (such as the Daisy Red Ryder) are too weak to reliably kill anything larger than a small insect. When we hunt, we want to kill as quickly as we can. BB guns don’t do that. The second reason BB guns are bad for hunting is the BB, itself. It’s made of steel and, therefore, does not deform in game. Deformation causes tissue damage, speeding death, and a steel BB is as far from that ideal as you can get. Finally, a steel BB is too small in caliber to do enough damage, no matter how fast it travels. Even when it goes 750 f.p.s., a speed some airguns can achieve, it’s still too slow to do the job in a humane way. I consider a .177 caliber pellet too small for hunting, but there are a great number of airgun hunters who prove me wrong all the time.

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Lubricating your spring gun: Part 2 – cocking linkage, breech seal and trigger

by B.B. Pelletier

Happy day after Christmas! I hope your holiday was as happy as mine.

Because I unknowingly repeated a posting last week (Tod brought it to my attention), I reviewed the posts made since the September 30 index. I also looked over your comments and discovered I hadn’t answered some questions. Other readers stepped in for me and I’m grateful, but there was one request that I would like to act on. Bill asked if I would post some close-up photos of some of the technical parts and terms of airguns that get tossed around in the blog. I think that’s a great idea, so I will do it over a series of future posts. I’ll not run them together, to keep from boring the old-timers, but perhaps at the end I will post a mini-index of these things. Or, maybe, I can talk Pyramyd Air into letting me make all the posts into one article they can put on their site!

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Why foot-pounds is the most meaningful airgun power rating

by B.B. Pelletier

I posted an article on foot-pounds back on July 15. A fellow calling himself “nordattack” took issue with what I said. I told him I would need to think about what he had said, then make my reply. Instead, I forgot to do anything about it. On December 21 an anonymous poster very clearly made the argument I should have made, so I’ll give the credit for this post to whoever that was. Here is why I believe foot-pounds is the MOST ACCURATE method to rate power in an airgun.

nordattack proved my point!
nordattack said, “If we are simply told an airgun has 25 foot pounds at the muzzle, again without knowing the weight of the pellet, we are clueless. I mean it could be a 900 caliber pellet going 5 feet per second!” No sir, we are not clueless. I can tell you A LOT of things about an airgun that produces 25 foot-pounds at the muzzle. Here goes!

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Johnson Indoor Target Gun

by B.B. Pelletier


The Johnson Indoor Target gun was a slingshot with a stock!

In the 1940s and early 1950s, the Johnson Indoor Target Gun was sold by sporting goods stores like Stoegers. Although I am calling it an airgun, it isn’t actually operated by air. It is really a catapult gun – sort of a slingshot with a trigger.

Blue Book!
I have touted the Blue Book of Airguns Fifth Edition so many times that you’re probably sick of it by now. However, in the case of the Johnson, they have a few errors. First – is the name. They call it the Johnson Indoor Target “RIFLE,” when it doesn’t even have a barrel, let alone rifling. I’m showing a closeup of the printing on the right side of the gun, and we’ll let you decide.

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